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How to get DH on board?

679 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  babycatcher12
He's terrified of homebirth- of birth period, actually. He's had this recurrent nightmare of his wife dying in childbirth for years (he first told me about it long before we were married, I know he's not making it up). My first birth was pretty good- barring I wanted a med-free delivery and ended up with all the usual interventions: Pitocin induction after my water broke with no contractions (they only gave 9 hours), continuous fetal monitoring, IVs (blech) and finally an epidural. I have good feelings when I think about my first birth, but now that I'm 17 weeks pregnant with #2, I find myself really wanting a homebirth.

My H is so closed-minded about it! It's something I've always been interested in, but he thinks it is dangerous. I've tried showing him the statistics re: the safety of HB, but he just tells me the one thing he learned in college was that statistics can be made to be whatever the researcher wants them to be.

Obviously I'm the one that going to be laboring and delivering, but I can't just discount his feelings/fears on the matter, that's not what marriage and parenthood mean to me. I just want him to open his mind a little, maybe read some books, be willing to meet with a MW.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
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I told dh to make a list of all his worries/fears related to homebirth. Then at the next midwife appt I told him it as his appt to ask all those "what ifs" (we both work in the medical field so the list was not short. The midwife was great and had answers for all his questions and gave him even more info. He left that appt feeling much better about the idea and a week later was on board in planning our hb.
I'd type more but I just had a baby!
The 3 biggest influences for dh: The Business of Being Born (A documentary on modern American OBs. You can get it from Netflix or buy it on Amazon for about $7), reading the recent Canadiab and Dutch homebirth studies, and interviewing and meeting the midwife.....gotta go
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my hubby was terrified too.

i acknowledged his feelings, but kept the conversation up.

I had him watch the business of being born with me. that made him feel more comfortable with a free-standing birth center rather than a hospital. a step in the right direction!

then i took him to talk with the midwife. she explained that there was no difference between the birthing center and home as far as safety is concerned. she was wonderful with his fears.

I had my homebirth in November!
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1. Have him watch Business of Being Born
2. Have him read any or all of the following:
*"You want to give birth where?", an essay by a dad who goes from homebirth critic to supporter
*Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America, recent, large scale professional study showing that "Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States."
*Sept. 2009 Canadian study showing safety rates of homebirth
3. Have him sit down and talk to a midwife. They're very used to dealing with scared spouses.

So basically, for me, it comes down to looking at the actual evidence, at being evidence-based. At this point your husband is not being evidence-based, he's operating off of irrational gut fears. Understandable, based out of love for you, but still irrational.
A few key points to make:
--Numerous large scale studies have shown that for low risk pregnancies attended by a trained midwife with appropriate procedures in place in case of transfer, homebirth is as least as safe as hospital birth, with far fewer harmful interventions and greater reported maternal satisfaction with the birth experience.
--The vast majority of health concerns that arise in pregnancy make themselves known well before labor begins. If your pregnancy becomes high risk, you would transfer into appropriate hospital care.
--The vast majority of transfers during labor are not ambulance emergencies. If you need to transfer, you typically do it in your own car and at your own pace.
--In the very rare event of a true catastrophic emergency, the midwife would call the hospital and have them prepare the operating room. In many cases, even if you were in the hospital, it would still take several minutes from "decision to incision" to get the operating room ready.
--Midwives aren't pagan healers who rely on crystals and herbs. They're highly trained medical professionals. They carry Pitocin in case of hemmorage, oxygen tanks in case of breathing trouble, fetal monitoring equipment, suturing equipment in case of tears, etc. They're experts in birth.
--It's not just about mortality, which is very rare, it's also about morbidity, which is very common. In a hospital birth, you are at risk of a number of harmful interventions. Epesiotemies are very common in hospitals and can be very problematic in the healing process. C-sections occur in one-third of hospital birth, and even in very conservative estimates, at least half of those are not necessary. Even if you write a birth plan saying you want a natural birth, as you've already found out, the hospital may stack the odds against you having that natural birth.
--Birth is inherently risky. There are babies who die in homebirths who may have lived in a hospital birth; there are babies who die in hospital births who may have lived in homebirths, and there are several mothers and babies who die every year in car wrecks on their way to the hospital. Life is risky, and you can't control all those risks -- you can just make good, evidence based decisions based on the best information you have available.
--This isn't about safety or health, but birth can be an incredible, transformative experience. In my experience of years of listening to dialogue about birth, many women cherish their homebirths in a way that you often don't see with hospital births. It's very similar to the difference between a hospital death and a home hospice death. There's often a peace and dignity in a homebirth that is possible but harder to achieve in a hospital birth.

Anyway, those are just some talking points. Good luck getting the birth you deserve.
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I second what all the other posters say especially MamaJen.
Can I ask where is Northern Ca you are? You have some great midwives up that way.
just wanted to add, there's a great dvd i ordered called homebirth dads.

my husband was already sold when we watched it, and his only criticism was that it's really for guys (at least the beginning parts) who haven't considered, or are not decided towards, home birth.

the production value is not super-high, but the content really is fabulous - great interviewer who takes lots of experienced dads through the same questions, edited really well.
Thanks so much for all the helpful info and advice, ladies!

Babycatcher, I'm in the Redding area...waaaaaaay more Northern than the Bay area, which is where a lot of really great midwives are. There are only a few in my area, some of which very highly recommended.
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Buckets we used to live near the Fort Bragg area. There are 5 CNMs up there who only do homebirths. I don't know how far they travel, but they are fantastic! Even a hospital birth in Fort Bragg would be good. (I didn't have my kids there, but worked there as an L&D nurse). The dr. who practices at the hospital was "trained" (meaning FB was the first place he practiced out of school) by the midwives there. He practices very much like a midwife, their intervention rate is low, epidural rate and c/s rate are well below national average.
I know it's a drive, but might be worth it if you can't get DH on board.

I hope you get the birth you want.
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